by Dr. Corey
It never fails, every year we walk outside and at some point we complain about it being hot. You think we’d just get used to it, but it always seems to be a surprise. Summer is the time of year we spend the most time outside as well. Whether it be for work or pleasure, it’s always nice to be outside soaking up some rays. That being said, it is important to recognize when we are getting too hot. Here are my top tips to beat the heat.
- Stay hydrated! - When we get hot our body sweats to keep itself cool. As we sweat, we lose a lot of water. By rule of thumb, we should at least drink half our weight in fluid ounces per day. That’s just a general rule that doesn’t take into account sweating in the heat. So if you’re outside, make sure you're drinking more than half your body weight in fluid ounces. Being more realistic, unless you’re working, most people will probably be drinking more alcohol than water. It’s nice to have a few drinks out with friends during the summertime, but make sure you are hydrating beforehand, and plan to afterwards. Dehydration can happen quickly and it's important to recognize when it happens. Signs and symptoms of dehydration are infrequent dark urination, fatigue, dizziness, and confusion. Extreme cases can lead to heat stroke. Classic signs of heat stroke are fever and lack of sweat. This can lead to unconsciousness, organ failure, and death. It’s easier said than done, but drink plenty of water!
- Make sure you’re getting enough electrolytes. - We preach drinking plenty of water all the time but often we forget how important it is to get electrolytes. Electrolytes are essential minerals such as sodium, potassium and magnesium. They are needed to carry out the simplest of cell functions. These minerals are also essential for heart health. Without them muscles can not contract or relax, hence a lack of them causes muscle cramping and soreness! We’ve all been there at some point whether it be from working out in the heat and sweating all day or from playing a sport. Believe it or not, a banana or gatorade will not fix the problem. When it comes to food sources of potassium, a potato has much more of the mineral than a banana. With sodium, Gatorade has a ton of it, but too much sugar. Supplements are great for fixing electrolyte imbalances quickly and effectively. Especially those that have been third party tested so you know that you are getting exactly what is says on the bottle.
- Avoid being active or doing rigorous work at the hottest part of the day. This may seem like a no brainer but we get so stuck on a normal 8-5 or 9-5 schedule. Road construction for example, is an occupation that works through the night. They do this during the summer when it is cooler, to keep their workers safe because the asphalt on the highway can reach temperatures of over 120 degrees on the hottest of days.